Archive for February 2011

Morning Meeting: Cameras In The Courtroom

Posted: Monday, February 28, 2011 at 10:14 am
By: Karen Sherman
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Nearly 10 years in the making, today we will get a decision over whether cameras may be allowed in South Dakota courtrooms.

KELOLAND reporter Vernon Brown reported on the first allowance of cameras in the South Dakota Supreme Court hearing in August 2001. It’s a practice still allowed today, which KELOLAND news brings you every quarter as they meet. But cameras are still not allowed in the courtroom during proceedings at the state court level in South Dakota. It’s why when KELOLAND News reports on court hearings, we will show video of defendants walking to and from court, use video of court papers and graphics to share quotes from within the hearings.

But just this past October, the state justices heard proposals for and against bringing cameras into state courthouses. KELOLAND News Assignment Editor Dexter Gronseth has been the coordinator for news coverage from SD Supreme Court hearings. He was one of those who testified about how allowing cameras would help the public better understand what happens in court. Justices also heard from a defense attorney about why he says cameras could interfere with the right of a fair trial.

They’re announcing the decision at 11:00 a.m. and we’ll bring it to you on KELOLAND.com. Ben Dunsmoor is in Pierre and will bring you a live report today on Midday and bring you more throughout the day on KELOLAND News.  And as part of our team report, David Brown will gather reaction to today’s announcement.

Morning Meeting: KELOLAND Apps Launch

Posted: Friday, February 25, 2011 at 10:42 am
By: Karen Sherman
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KELOLAND News App

KELOLAND News App

We have BIG news today at KELOLAND.com.

You can now download the KELOAND News App for your smartphone and mobile iDevices. It allows you to see the latest news of the day, watch videos, see the KELOLAND Live HD Radars, get your forecast and share videos and story ideas all in one app.

Just go to the appropriate “store” for you device and download it for FREE! You can find more details here.

Sioux Falls is yet another step closer toward a possible future events center. So, does now knowing where it would be built Downtown change your thoughts on whether it should be built at the Arena/Convention Center site versus Downtown?

Today David Brown is hoping to talk with former Mayor Dave Munson about the progress since he spent so many years trying to bring the venue to town.

Then Ben Dunsmoor is going to talk more with Jeff Scherschligt, who owns the land and built Cherapa Place, to get his reaction to the announcement. Perry Groten is also out getting people’s reaction to the announcement at a local coffee shop. If you don’t run into him, let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Another big story today is still the gas prices. Kelly Bartnick showed you Thursday how they varied about 16 cents depending on where you filled up along Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls. Today Shawn Neisteadt is going to ask around to find out why it’s so different.

When I posted the pictures yesterday of our prices, I got a lot of feedback from former co-workers from across the country.  Some are seeing much lower prices, others are much higher… even nearing or at the $4 mark. You can see exactly how our prices compare with the rest of the country here.

Morning Meeting: Gas Prices Jump

Posted: Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 10:52 am
By: Karen Sherman
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I filled up with gas on my way to work this morning and couldn’t believe my bad timing. If only I had done it before stations started raising prices. Starting the day with $3.24 gas was a bit depressing because I remember AAA’s Mark Madeja in Nicole Winter’s story last night saying even he’s shocked prices in KELOLAND went up so fast.

Nicole did find prices ranged in Sioux Falls as high as $3.34 to a low of $3.07 at Mr. Nifty.

Wednesday

Wednesday

But this morning when our reporters drove past, that low price jumped to one of the highest and is now selling for $3.43 per gallon.

Thursday

Thursday

Kelly Bartnick is looking into the fluctuating prices across town.

Help us report the highest and lowest prices in your area by sharing them in our comment section below.

As part of Nicole’s story yesterday, we also put in a call to the South Dakota Attorney General’s office to find out how they deal with suspected price gouging. They said they take complaints but that the state doesn’t have any regulations on price gouging. Interesting?

In other developing news today, the City of Sioux Falls is announcing today at 1:30 p.m. where the architectural firm for an events center has chosen as the most “most suitable and feasible location Downtown.” KELOLAND News will be there and bring you the decision instantly on KELOLAND.com and then have reaction tonight on KELOLAND News.

Morning Meeting: 13 Crashes

Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 10:34 am
By: Karen Sherman
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We had several reporters switch gears on their stories Tuesday when Senator John Thune announced he was not going to run for President in 2012. But we found it very interesting that he made the announcement over Facebook. Today, Perry Groten is going to continue our coverage and look into the power of social media and why Thune chose to use it instead of holding a news conference as done in the past.

Another South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper was hit on the interstate while responding to another crash (check out the video if you haven’t seen it!). It’s the 13th on South Dakota roads this winter. Don Jorgensen showed you last week what the damaged fleet looks like.  Today Peggy Moyer is talking with HP Captain Kevin Joffer today about how it’s impacting the department.

We’re keeping a close eye on a couple bills in the legislature today too, including SB 149, which would add guidelines to when a student athlete may return to the sport after a concussion. It’s expected to be read in the Senate today and Kelli Grant will have the latest on HealthBeat.

There’s also several education funding bills we’re monitoring. Aberdeen reporter Erich Schaffhauser is talking with a high school student who’s taken the initiative to start her own petition because she’s so concerned about the cuts to education.

So, let me ask… Whether it’s contacting a lawmaker or superintendent or going to school meetings, have you taken any action to get your opinion heard about education funding in the state? Let us know what you’ve done in the comments below.

We have a lot more news today. We’re also finding out whether the City of Sioux Falls is going to go easy on property owners who don’t have the ice off their sidewalks by 3 o’clock today. But to find out, you’ll have to check in with KELOLAND.com and our newscasts throughout the day.

Evening Wrap-Up: Coverage Of Thune’s Decision To Not Run For President

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm
By: Karen Sherman
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As you may have heard, South Dakota Senator John Thune made the announcement today on his Facebook page that he will not be running for president.   KELOLOAND News was the first to break the story online. Several other stories during newscasts followed throughout the day.

At midday, Ben Dunsmoor had a live interview with Thune about his decision. On KELOLAND News at 5, Shawn Neisteadt talked with a political expert about Thune’s choice and Katie Janssen spoke with the most recent South Dakota candidate to run for president in 1980, Republican Larry Pressler. On KELOLAND News at 6, Don Jorgenson asked people for reactions to the decision, Nicole Winters talked to South Dakotan George McGovern (who ran for presidency and lost to Nixon in 1972) and Dunsmoor described in detail John Thune’s reasoning for not running for president.

Tonight on KELOLAND News at 10, Dunsmoor has an even more in-depth look at Thune’s choice and what it means for South Dakota in the Eye On KELOLAND. He interviewed former South Dakota Senator Jim Abdnor for his opinion and Thune himself. Dunsmoor asks what role Thune’s family played in the decision, as well as other factors

Morning Meeting: Clearing Snow Gets Costly

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 9:49 am
By: Karen Sherman
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Just when we thought we were in the clear, winter returns. I sure hope you enjoyed the mini heat wave while it lasted. It gave plows and snow removal budgets a break, but even that was short lived. Our Shawn Neisteadt is off to Dell Rapids to show you how all the snow we’ve had this winter is impacting small town budgets.

Plus, crews in Sioux Falls have had to work to clear streets every holiday since Thanksgiving. How’s that for timing? Nicole Winters is looking into the impact on the city’s checkbook.

When you notice your personal budget is getting thin, how do you handle it? Do you try to stretch the money you have, or cut out expenses that you can do without? Minnehaha County’s budget is struggling. At this morning’s meeting commissioners are discussing how to handle a massive shortfall. David Brown is there and will have more on what they decide.

And what have you found is the easiest way to get rid of the sheet of ice on your driveway and sidewalks? I have a neighbor who has a snow plow buisiness and says it’s been difficult for him to clear driveways.  Let us know what’s working best for you on our KELOLAND Facebook page.  Then later today, Jon Wilson will show you what tools might work best.

Evening Wrap-Up: Unfavorable Driving Conditions

Posted: Monday, February 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm
By: Karen Sherman
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This morning, the drive from my parent’s home in southern Minnesota, where I spent the weekend, to Sioux Falls, SD, took an extra hour. The roads were very snow packed in Minnesota, due to the 10 inches of recent snow. Luckily, I made it safely all the while going a steady 35 to 40 miles per hour.

Last night, Tony Barlow discovered a car stuck with our KELOLAND web cam near Aberdeen. This resulted in Jon Wilson’s story today, Brown County Rescue Caught On Videotape. We have also included extra footage of the Snow Cat used to rescue the stranded couple. I bet everyone who lives in the Midwest would enjoy having one of those this time of year. 

Unfavorable road conditions occurred all over South Dakota today. We had stories about the storm’s path, scraping the thick ice off of windshields this morning,  cleanup in Sioux Falls, Brookings’ 11 inches of snow and truckers forced off the roads by the conditions.

Tonight, both sports guys turned around on their drives to Mitchell and Canton, due to a nice sheet of ice on the roads. So, how do you find out what the conditions are like in the state and updated? Is there a way I could have checked the roads before leaving? Check out Ben Dunsmoor’s story tonight on KELOLAND News at 10 about the Safe Travel USA and 511 system.

Morning Meeting: Winter Returns To KELOLAND

Posted: Monday, February 21, 2011 at 10:26 am
By: Karen Sherman
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Not surprisingly, the weather was the top topic during Monday’s morning meeting. While Interstate 90 between Wall and Chamberlain is once again open, Interstate 29 from Sioux Falls to the North Dakota border remains closed as of 10 a.m.  And the city of Sioux Falls just issued a snow alert.  Plows are clearing emergency routes first; Zone 3 streets will be next.

The winter storm kept the KELOLAND meteorologists busy over the weekend. This morning, Brian Karstens put together a weather blog that includes the latest snowfall totals.

People in Aberdeen are digging out from more than 16 inches of snow that fell; KELOLAND’s Erich Schaffhauser told me he had to pull out the snow blower to clear a path in the alley near his house. Erich will have more from the Hub City later on KELOLAND News.

All of that snow made getting home a challenge for a couple that lives near Aberdeen. Sunday evening, meteorologist Tony Barlow noticed a car stuck in a drift on our Aberdeen Skycam. The weekend crew put in a call to authorities and continued to keep an eye on the vehicle. It took more than two hours before the couple was finally safe in their home! KELOLAND’s Jon Wilson put together a story on the rescue for KELOLAND This Morning. He’s working on another story about it for later today; this one will include a deputy who was part of the rescue efforts.

Morning Meeting: Are You Willing To Pay Up?

Posted: Friday, February 18, 2011 at 10:43 am
By: Karen Sherman
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I’m curious today who you think knows what’s best for South Dakota, our children and our elderly? There’s an awful lot of talk going on about the idea of a 1% sales tax increase to help get the state through the budget crisis while keeping the quality of basic state programs and services.

As Katie Janssen showed you Thursday, a Milbank woman is not having a problem getting petitions signed to support a 1% sales tax increase. People feel the state needs to fund education and Medicaid and they’re willing to help pay for it. A poll on Katie’s story shows 81 percent of people who took part also support the move. So today, we’re taking that story further and Perry Groten is going to continue to look into the support behind the movement.

Schools aren’t wasting any time preparing for the proposed cuts, just in case they do go through. In Aberdeen, Erich Schaffhauser’s going to talk with the district’s superintendent about the plan he laid out for parents at last night’s meeting. You can look at the slides he shared here. Page 13 begins laying out everything he proposes the district cut, including the number of employees by department.

David Brown is also looking further into the charges filed against a former Huron police officer. 38-year-old Tony Beerman is accused of sending sexually explicit video and text message to a teenage girl. The City Commission meeting’s minutes in December also show he was fired in executive session.

And remember what happened with the high water at Lake Poinsett last spring? Well, the lake level is apparently a lot higher now than it was even this time last year so they’re expecting even more damage this time around. We have a crew up there today to show you the situation even before it gets worse.

Morning Meeting: Flooding Fears, Fog

Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 10:51 am
By: Karen Sherman
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Thursday morning, the National Weather Service bumped up the odds for major flooding in the Fargo area this spring.  The latest flood outlook shows a 70 percent chance the river in the Fargo area will beat last year’s crest of about 37 feet.   Flooding is already taking place in parts of KELOLAND this year. Austin Hoffman is in Pine Ridge today, checking on flooding in that area.

Even as the snow starts to melt, Great Bear Recreation Park is still open for business. With so many school kids out of class the next few days, it’s expected that the ski, snowboard and tubing hills will be busy. KELOLAND’s Nicole Winters checks on the end of the season at Great Bear.

The happenings in the South Dakota Legislature generated a lot of talk at this morning’s newsroom meeting. Kelly Bartnick is looking into HB 1241, which would revise certain penalties for the sale or service of an alcoholic beverage to a person under the age of twenty-one.   It’s a good follow-up story to Kelly’s piece on the most recent Sioux Falls liquor sting that five businesses failed.

And how about that fog this morning!  I couldn’t see more than a block ahead as I drove to work this morning.  Co-workers said it got worse as the morning went on.   According to a weather update by Meteorologist Brian Karstens, the fog and wind are the big weather stories of the day.